A 77-year-old hardware store on Third Avenue will retire in the coming weeks, leaving Ridgeites without one of the neighborhood’s oldest businesses.
Ridge Paint Hardware Co. Inc., (9108 Third Avenue) which opened in 1938, will close in the next few weeks. Its current owner, Seymour “Sy” Shepetin, has retired.
“He’s 89; physically he couldn’t do it anymore,” Shepetin’s daughter Millie said.
Shepetin took the store over from his father in 1948 and ran it with his high school friend Dom Chirico, who died last May, along with Millie and a few other employees, in the same incarnation that customers see today.
After he opened the store on his own for the last time June 13, Shepetin debated if he should instead only take time off or transition to part-time. But he soon fell and broke his wrist in his apartment and decided to begin to shut down the shop.
Since June, Millie and a few other employees have run the store, which is only open on the weekends now, while they try to sell the remaining products at 50 percent off. In Millie’s estimation, once they sell everything after a few more weekends, Ridge Paint & Hardware will close its doors for good.
“I’ve grown up here my entire life and it hurts the community to lose relationships with the owners of these businesses,” Alan French, a Bay Ridge resident, said.
“A lot of them were upset. Some were crying. It’s touching. I was really surprised that so many people came,” Millie said about their customers. “He’s been there so long and people are really like, ‘Oh, what are we going to do without [Sy]?’”
Only about one customer at a time can fit inside the store with an employee, while others wait outside. A walk through the interior takes fewer than 10 steps, with just enough space to turn around. Gadgets, hardware and other utilities fill the store up to the ceiling, cascaded in boxes and pouches all around.
“He’s got a lot of stuff you can’t find anywhere else, a lot of old parts,” Millie said. “Most guys who come to the store just come to see [my dad].
“There would be a line out the door with people waiting and he’d be helping one person for 10, 15 minutes,” she said. “He had to make sure they knew what to do.”